Bean's Cafe plans meeting on winter safety for the homeless

August 28, 2011 

Bean's Cafe is hosting a town hall meeting Tuesday afternoon for Anchorage's homeless that will focus on winter safety and survival.

The meeting is set for 2 p.m. at Bean's, the soup kitchen on East Third Avenue that also provides daytime shelter for Anchorage street people.

Jim Crockett, executive director of Bean's Cafe, and Susan Bomalaski, executive director of Catholic Social Services, which runs Brother Francis Shelter, will field questions. Darrel Hess, who coordinates homelessness issues for the municipality, will mediate the discussion. Officials also plan to distribute reflective strips for clothing and backpacks.

The meeting is open to the public but will be geared toward people who are homeless and rely on the agencies for help, Bomalaski said.

The social agencies want to encourage the homeless to get ready for winter and to think about moving in from camps and into shelters, she said. While Brother Francis Shelter has a policy to limit stays to 30 days, once the weather dips to 32 degrees people can come into the shelter even if they've used up their 30 days.

Several Assembly members are expected to attend the session.

City policy toward the homeless has been under scrutiny in recent years. The city this summer began enforcing a revised law that allows police to clear out camps after giving the homeless 15 days notice, or less time if the city stores their property. Some homeless people have resisted moving.

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